FACULTY

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EMILY WILLIAMS

Emily began her dance training in Orange County at the age of three. Since then, her love of dance has grown exponentially and she intensified her training in commercial dance by working with a multitude of instructors and coaches.  In pursuit of widening her artistic experience, she has studied Musical Theater at the Arts and Learning Conservatory and Ballet, Theatre, and Visual Arts at the Orange County School of the Arts.  At 15 years old, she began teaching Princess Pre-Ballet and has since widened her teaching experience to include all levels and ages of most commercial dance styles, with specific expertise in training students in technical leaps and turns, as well as finding a new love for broadway and rhythm tap choreography.  Her first love still remains in lyrical and contemporary - winning special judges awards and being recognized for her choreography at a variety of regional and national competitions. She strives to advance in her academic passions as well, pursuing a degree in Genetics at the University of California, Irvine. Emily has performed and choreographed at UCI with the Bare Bones Dance Theatre, and in the OCC Student Dance concert. She has choreographed for Newport Platinum Dance Academy and Odyssey Dance Academy’s competition teams; training and helping her students to challenge themselves throughout the year. Emily is known for her attention to technique and advanced training but also loves to teach beginning students and to share her love for dance.

Artistic Director

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KRISTEN BROWNELL

Kristen has been dancing since the age of three and started competing not long after. When she began winning many awards and getting recognized out of her groups, her parents decided to bring her to Just Plain Dancin' , where she spent most of her training and grew to be more competitive. She also competed on her high school dance team at Santiago High School was captain her last two years. During her senior year, she was recognized out of more than 100 dancers and was awarded “The Magical Performer” of the weekend by LA Dance Magic, receiving a scholarship along with it. Performing for others has always been Kristen’s biggest passion and it shows when she dances. After High school, Kristen went on to compete with the Orange Coast College Dance Team and won two national titles in Orlando, FL.

While Kristen loves performing, she also loves teaching and choreographing. She has taught and choreographed for many studios and schools throughout Southern California. Her choreography has received many overall awards and has been recognized for special awards by judges. While she is trained in all styles, Kristen has a soft spot for lyrical and contemporary. She loves to encourage dancers to really use their emotions along with having great technique. Her ultimate goal is to make people feel something when they take class with her or watch her choreography.

Professionally, Kristen has been honored to work with many well-known choreographers such as Mandy Moore, Napoleon D’umo, D.J. Guthrie, Jackie Sleight, and Dan Karaty.  She has spent the last 8 years at The Disneyland Resort, performing in the Entertainment Department. She has been privileged to perform in many parades, shows, and media events. While teaching and Disney are a big part of Kristen’s life, she is also currently going to school to get her teaching credential. She loves working with children of all ages and is looking forward to sharing her love of dance with everyone here at Odyssey Dance Academy.

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Shelby Bassett

Shelby has danced competitively since she was 2 years old and has won numerous regional and national titles throughout her 16 years of competing. She trained and graduated from Mather Dance Company in all styles of dance and went on to extend her training after high school with their adult professional Bridge Into The Industry company. She is now a member of the world-renowned hip hop company, Academy Of Villains, and continues to dance and choreograph professionally in the industry. Some of her accomplishments include Just Dance commercials, Kensington Moore's music video “Slow,” featured dancer in the movie “No Dance, No life,” Christopher Robbins’ “World Goes Round Cabaret,” back-up dancer in Mario Aguilar's US tour; as well as numerous live show performances and choreography jobs around the country. Shelby is also a certified spin instructor at Evolution House, and loves to combine her passion for dance and fitness. She has been teaching and choreographing since the age of 16 and has a true passion for inspiring and molding the upcoming generations of dancers.

Hanna Landazuri

Hanna Landazuri began her dance career at the age of 7. She grew up in the Irvine Area dancing as a competitive dancer at Focus Dance Center of the Performing Arts. She began her training in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop and Lyrical. Over time she developed her own personal style, and discovered her favorite styles to be contemporary and hip hop. Throughout her competing years she won many awards for her skills, artistry, and passion for dance. She was a member of the award-winning, national championship-winning University High School Song Team. She teaches at several studios in the Orange County area and enjoys working with her students and training them to be the best dancers they can be, supporting them to always try their best and have a positive outlook on everything. 

Kelly Hesp

Kelly Hesp was born and raised in Newport Beach, California. She began dancing at Irvine Dance Academy and spent over ten years at Focus Dance Center as a competitive dancer. Throughout her early years, she trained in various styles of dance including jazz, lyrical, tap, ballet, and hip-hop. During high school, she danced with Orchesis Dance Company at Corona Del Mar, where she was given the opportunity to be captain of her team for two years and was able to choreograph and perform for their annual concerts, rallies and other venues. Kelly has choreographed for Odyssey Dance Academy’s competition team and is known for her vivacious teaching style and creative choreography. Kelly is a dance and communication major at Chapman University where she continues to train in ballet, jazz, modern, tap, and ballroom. She has performed in the annual Chapman American Celebration event and is apart of the Chapman Dance Alliance where she choreographs and performs at their annual show. Kelly is excited to perform with the Chapman Dance Tour this year, which tours throughout Orange and LA counties, as well as Las Vegas. Kelly is a certified barre instructor at Everbarre in Irvine and enjoys combining her passion for dance and fitness. She also teaches master classes for Orchesis Dance Company. Kelly has a clear passion for team unity and strives to create an atmosphere where all students will learn and advance with each other.

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Haley Altman-Cipot

Haley Altman-Cipot began her dance training at a local studio on the coast of Connecticut where she grew up. She narrowed her focus to ballet at age 12 and continued on to study at summer intensives including the Bolshoi Ballet, the Rock School, and American Ballet Theatre (NYC). Haley competed in the Connecticut Classic and Youth America Grand Prix, placing in the top twelve and receiving a full scholarship to the Burklyn Ballet Theatre summer intensive. After performing roles including Snow Queen and Dew Drop Fairy (in The Nutcracker) with New England Ballet School’s student company, Haley went on to attend the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts. Her college studies included ballet pedagogy, nutrition and anatomy while she had the opportunity of performing in works such as Frederick Ashton’s Birthday Offering and a new piece set by the dancers of Wayne McGregor. In 2016 Haley joined Ballet Theatre of Indiana to spend 4 years performing roles including Cinderella (in Cinderella), Dracula’s Bride (in Dracula) and the Third Shade Variation (in La Bayadere) in downtown Indianapolis. She had the privilege of performing as the guest Sugar Plum Fairy in Western Arkansas Ballet’s 2018 production of The Nutcracker. Haley led Cardio Dance at Push! Fitness for Women and taught ballet at G. Scotten Talent Center for the 2018-2019 season, and spent 3 years teaching and choreographing as faculty at The Children’s Ballet. She is eager to continue dancing and teaching in California.

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Sadie Sandoval

Sadie Sandoval is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine Claire Trevor School of the Arts where she received her BFA in Dance Performance in June 2020. In her first year at UC Irvine, she worked with Dante Puleio, Artistic Director of the Limon Dance Company, and performed in his graduate thesis, which is when she fell in love with modern dance. In her second year, she was fortunate enough to dance for Donald McKayle in his final Etude Ensemble and in 2019 received the Donald McKayle Endowment for Modern Dance. In her last year, she performed as a soloist in Lar Lubovitch’s “North Star”. In 2018, she traveled to Israel and trained with several Israeli modern dance companies including Batsheva Dance Company, Vertigo Dance Company, and Kolben Dance Company. In 2019, she attended the Alvin Ailey Professional Division Program and the Abraham in Motion Summer Intensive in New York City. She aspires to dance professionally in a modern dance company and eventually teach technique at a University and set repertoire on companies and ensembles, specifically works created by Donald McKayle. She is excited to be teaching ballet technique at Odyssey Dance Academy!

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Madeleine Schmidhauser

Madeleine began dancing at age 3 in Orange County. While she enjoys all styles of dance, her specialty has always been tap dancing. She has been teaching and choreographing tap for over 5 years. During high school, Madeleine attended Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) where she took advanced jazz and tap classes. At OCSA, she had the opportunity to perform in Segerstrom Hall and was invited by her instructor to join the all-star tap company, Tap Overload. Since then, she has been fortunate enough to work with over 15 different tap instructors. These instructors have included industry professionals Christy Hernandez, Anthony Morigerato, Steve Zee, Leah Silva, and Sam Weber. Madeleine graduated from California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo with a BS in Industrial Engineering and a Minor in Dance. At Cal Poly, Madeleine was a member of Orchesis Dance Company and choreographed 3 tap pieces for the Dance Department. She is thrilled to bring more tap opportunities to the students at Odyssey Dance Academy, and is looking forward to her participation in the Tap Company program.

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